Two years into a five-year, $64 million contract, Adrian Beltre has produced a .262 average, 44 home runs, and 176 RBIs. However, after the All Star break in 2006, Beltre slugged .552 with a whopping 18 home runs. Does this strong second half bode well for a turn-around in 2007, or will Mariners fans have to deal with 'A-Drain' once again? This blog intends to follow the 2007 season for Adrian Beltre, and the Seattle Mariners, and promises to hold no punches.

SI's Jacob Luft on the Weaver signing


Sports Illustrated's Jacob Luft gives his .02 on the Weaver signing, in a piece comparing the state of Jeff's old team with his new one. In it, Luft points out the two positive moves the mariners made in an otherwise "brutal" off-season:

1) Letting Gil Meche sign elsewhere for a king's ransom; and,

2) Agreeing to terms with Cardinals postseason hero Jeff Weaver on a digestible one-year, $8.325 million contract.

Another thing that caught my eye, and shows just how much off-season moves can slip underneath your radar, is Luft mentioning Ryan Franklin as a possible candidate to replace Weaver in the Cardinals' rotation. It's amazing any team would allow Franklin the opportunity to pitch for them on a regular basis at all...

John Donavan on the Mariners


In his latest Yahoo! column, John Donavan touches on the Ichiro situation, and the Weaver signing:
Early guess: It's not a matter of if the Mariners will offer enough to bring Ichiro back for 2008 and beyond. They will. They have to. And it'll be a smart move. The question is when the offer comes and, more important, whether Ichiro will accept that offer. After three straight losing seasons -- and, very possibly, another coming -- I see him taking off for San Francisco or Southern California or New York. Maybe even for less money. The M's had their chance ...

Next winter could see three stellar center fielders on the market; Ichiro (he's moving to center this season), the Twins' Torii Hunter and the Braves' Andruw Jones ...

As much as I like Jeff Weaver, I wonder how he'll do in Seattle, if that's where he ends up. I liked his chances for success better with the Cardinals or, believe it or not, in Pittsburgh (where he'd be reunited with Jim Colborn, his former pitching coach with the Dodgers). Instead, he's reportedly going to Seattle. That's not all bad, of course. Outside of Petco Park in San Diego, Seattle's Safeco Field is maybe the best pitcher's park in the bigs ...

Aw, crap.


They did it. I guess a pitcher with a career 86-101 record fits right in on the Seattle Mariners' starting rotation....

So much for the next Mike Schmidt...


According to Yahoo!, Angels third-baseman Dallas McPherson will have back surgery and will be out of action for six months. The 6-4, 230-pound third baseman, who has been likened to Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt in the past, has been the Angels' top prospect for years, and allowed them let Troy Glaus walk as a free agent after an injury-shortened 2004- one in which Glaus slugged .575 in 58 games.

In the two seasons since, the numbers between the two slugging third basemen:
Glaus .255 average 75 home runs 201 RBIs 558 total bases .518 slugging percentage
McPherson .250 average 15 home runs 39 RBIs 147 total bases .459 slugging percentage
Not a good move, that. I kind of wonder who I should feel worse for, the Angels- who are stuck relying on Maicer Izturis (and his .412 slugging average and 13 errors in 104 games)at third base, or shifting Chone Figgins from his more natural position of center field- or me, who stocked up on Dallas McPherson rookie cards a few years ago. It appears that Dallas is shaping up to be the next Phil Plantier or Sam Horn- all huff and no puff....

Surfing over to Yahoo! this morning, I saw two Mariners- related news items that made me blow my corn flakes.

First, the washed-up Arthur Rhodes has signed a one-year, $1 million minor league deal with the M's. This is a good deal- as long as he stays in the minor leagues. Perhaps Rhodes is relocating to the Northwest as that was the home of the greatest success of his career- 8-0, 1.72 in the Mariners' magical 116-win season of 2001. After leaving the M's after the 2003 season, Rhodes has sucked. Actually, the downward trend of his career began with his final season in a Mariners uniform, which included a 3-3 record and 4.17 ERA. Granted, Rhodes had a 2.08 ERA in 43 innings for the Indians in 2005, but the fact remains that Rhodes went 0-5 with an ERA north of 5.00 for the Phillies last year. He's six years removed from his most recent dominating season, and his presence in the Mariners bullpen doesn't bode well. I think picking up Horacio Ramirez was a nice addition for the M's rotation, but now it appears they gave up to much for Ramirez. Replacing the raw stuff of Rafael Soriano with the combined hacks of Rhodes and Chris Reitsma is too much, and a typical move you'd expect from a front office helmed by Bill Bavasi.

The other item probably doesn't rank much higher than rumors, but Jeff Weaver has been in talks with the Mariners about signing a one-year contract. Yes, the former first-round draft pick is expressing interest in making Safeco his new home. Granted, Weaver had all but re-upped with the team that garnered him a World Series ring yesterday- and was the new member of the Pirates' rotation the day before that- but now he's making googly eyes at the M's. It's a complicated dance to extract the msot amount of money from any possible team, and it's hard to believe the M's could offer Weaver more in a one-year contract than the Cardinals could in their two-year offer. However, I'm sure Weaver and his agent, Devil Incarnate Scott Boras, realize that the M's are lacking reliable starting pitching, so are doing whatever they can to get a deal most favorable on their terms. If a deal is successful, batters throughout the AL West will yell in joyful unison, as Weaver's awful, awful numbers as a member of the Angels staff last year- 6.29 ERA, .309 opponents' batting average, and 18 home runs in 89 innings- awaits a return to the AL West.

A rotation of Felix, Washburn, Batista, Weaver, and Ramirez is a testament to mediocrity and would be the M's most serious challenge of posing a run at the division. One the plus side, allstarters are experienced and should eat innings, thus sparing the involvement of the M's bullpen, which could stand to be even more of an embarrassment.

Bavasi didn't screw one up....


According to the Seattle Times, Bill Bavasi has inked M's closer J.J. Putz to a three-year deal. The deal calls for $2.2 million in 2007, $3.4 million in 2008, and $5 million in 2009. The deal also provides stability for the Mariners' bullpen for the first-time since Kazuhiro Sasaki filled the closer position.

Another great thing about this signing is that Brian Price is no logner the M's pitching coach, and as such, J.J.'s arm didn't break immediately after signing the contract.

J.J.'s new contract is befitting the incredible season he had in 2006 (36 savs, 2.30 ERA, a WHIP under 1.00). Now if only Bavasi could make Ichiro feel just as appreciated.

Sosa works out with the Rangers


Please, Texas, sign Sammy.

Is it Ichi-go?


According to the Tacoma News Tribune, there is some confusion as to whether Ichiro wants to stay with the Mariners, or leave after the 2007 season.

It doesn't help matters when your team's superstar talks about the Mariners with answers "dripping with sarcasm." If Bavasi screws this up, put a fork in him and bring back Woody Woodward.

M's announce new broadcaster


To replace outgoing Ron Fairly, the Mariners have supposedly tapped veteran broadcaster Dave Sims, according to the Seattle Times. Sim's bio:
Sims, a Philadelphia native, has called Big East college football for ESPN since 1998 and college basketball for ESPN since 1991. He is also is a member of the CBS Radio/Westwood One team that broadcasts NFL Sunday night games. Sims is working today's Giants-Eagles game and will do play-by-play on the NFC Championship Game.
Who is this guy? Anybody familair with his mannerisms? Will he be able to do an able job of replcaing ol' Red? Will Dave be able to remind us that the harder you hit the ball, the farther it will go? Or that the M's will have to score if they're going to be able to win? Oh, and let's not forget how important it is to keep the ball down....

Seriously, if anyone is familiar with this guy Sims- his character and delivery- please let me know....

Mariners wrap-up, Jan. 5th


After a morning in which the Seattle P-I noted that the Mariners may not be done dealing, it was announced that the M's got their pitching staff a little more league-average with the signing of journeyman Chris Reitsma to a one-year $2 million deal. I understand what Bavasi meant with his quote in the P-I story of the Mariners "never being done and want to keep getting better." That still doesn't explain the Reitsma signing.

Oh, Reitsma is servicable enough, I suppose. His greatest tool to offer the M's is his flexibility. He is just 29, and started as much as 29 games just four years ago, and averaged 80 games and a 4.00 ERA for the Braves between 2004 & 2005. Sure Reitsma's 2006 sucked in the most general use of the word- 1-2, with a 8.68 ERA- but in the bright side his 2007 can only improve. Right?

Perhaps the most interesting point I gleamed from the Yahoo! story was the arm troubles of Mark Lowe. I totally glossed over his injury problems at the end of last season, and with his absnece for any indefinite amount of time- epsecially when supposedly being replaced by such dreck as Reitsma- does not nearly instill as much confidence in the M's bull-pen as Lowe's healthy presence would otherwise. Oh well. At least the M's got a Meche-replacement in the Reitsma signing, but for $9 million less.

Speaking of Meche, whoever thought he would grace the front of Yahoo!'s main baseball page?:

And, oh yeah, after two seasons in which Randy Johnson "failed to fit in" as a New York Yankee despite winning a total of 34 games, he was traded back to Arizona where he can retire after winning his 300th game near his home in the desert. Though RJ will be far from great next season, his presence combined with returning Cy Young winner brandon Webb in the rotation, plus a line-up stocked with young studs- Drew, Young, Quentin, Tracy, and Jackson- allow the D'backs a pretty tough team to challenge for the NL West title in 2007. This deal may end up helping out both teams, as the Yankees get younger, but the D'Backs get better.

Reading about the trade discusions- especially in the New York Times, who mentioned Scott Bradley, Johnson's catcher in the early mullet-headed 1990s- brought me memories of listening to RJ's final strike-out in his 2-0 no-hit shut-out of the Detroit Tigers, perhaps my most exciting baseball memory. One I'm sure will duplicated by Chris Reitsma in '07....

Pineiro signs with the Red Sox!


This time, it's true.

According to Yahoo!, Joel Pineiro and the Boston Red Sox have agreed on a one-year $4 million contract. Supposedly, the Red Sox don't like their options of Jonathan Papelbon or Craig Hansen to fill the role of closer for them, and consider Pineiro a much better option to blow the AL East for them.


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